You may think that balancing any kind of life with your studies sounds a difficult task, if not nearly impossible, and studying abroad is no different. With any form of university study you will always find you need something to do or somewhere to go for some relaxation and free time away from your studies.
Your management of time and how you use it is always important when studying an MBA and even more important when studying abroad. If you stay on top of your workload, which is highly recommended, you will be able to find precious spare time to spend doing something exciting and fun.
University MBA studies are intense and a lot of your time will be spent studying, but all work and no play can get very boring. It is important to make personal time for yourself, even if it is simply an evening going out with new friends to a local restaurant or an afternoon in the park. It is a necessity to experience the cultures of where you are now living and is a vital part of your overall experience of studying abroad.
When you know where in the world you are going to study your MBA, make sure you plan a small tour of the area or sightseeing exploration for early on in your studies. It is important to get this in as early on in your studies as possible because your MBA gets more intense the further into your studies you get. You may find yourself struggling to enjoy a weekend exploring your new home if you leave this for later. You may even regret it not doing it when you graduate but have not had the chance to explore the sights and broaden your horizons. Doing this early on in your MBA studies also means you will know where local landmarks, restaurants, student friendly bars and certain activities of interest are. This means when you do have free time you will not have to spend half your day finding somewhere to go or something to do because you will already have an idea of what is available to you in the area.
The sooner you get to know your surrounding the better off you will be. Get a group of course buddies together and get out there. Experiencing new things together will not only allow you to build up new relationships with other students on your MBA course but will also allow you to find places of interest, places to visit together later and learn where to go locally in the case of an emergency, such as hospitals, police or even the local supermarket when you’re running low on milk.
Many courses across the globe in a variety of subjects can require some form of work experience to graduate, and if it is not a compulsory aspect of the course it could still make a huge difference to both your degree and your future career. While studying an MBA abroad it would be hugely beneficial to gain some experience in a business in that country. The connection between yourself, your institution and your work experience employer will help you to build opportunities for your future upon your graduation. Hands on experience in a practise shows that you have knowledge of applying the skills you learn during your MBA.
Again it is important to balance your lifestyle as a student studying an MBA with the work experience you are doing. Working practise experience is important, but it is also important to experience the culture around you. If you are travelling further to your work placement then you will have the opportunity to see a bit more of the world around you so consider taking the opportunity to do so.
Being away from home while studying your MBA may be difficult if you tend to rely upon your family for support. While you are away it may be an idea to plan regular times to contact home, be it by telephone or online using a service such as Skype. By arranging a specific night or day which suits both you and your family, you know you will keep regular contact and also have something to look forward to every week.
When studying abroad you may not be able to find certain luxuries you are used to. If you drink a specific brand of tea or eat a specific chocolate bar you may find it difficult to obtain when studying abroad. If you know the luxury will be missed get a family member to post you the essentials on the odd occasion to give you that taste of home when you need it.
A great way to make friends when studying your MBA abroad could include joining a sports club or special interest group at your institution. This way you will get to meet new people who enjoy the same things in life as you. If you are struggling with being away from your family and your friends back home and you find it affects your concentration on your studies then making new friends will help clear your head. These students are in the same circumstances as you and you will all benefit from each other’s company and even learn coping strategies from each other.
Remember your MBA studies are your main reason for being abroad in the first place so ensure you get the balance between work and play right. You don’t want to leave at the end of your studies thinking that it was fun whilst not graduating with your expected grades. If necessary set yourself targets where your work is concerned and when you meet them, celebrate with a small outing, sightseeing day or night out. When you graduate with your MBA award you will be grateful that you took your studies seriously and produced a good standard of work while still enjoying the company of the people and the culture around you.
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